Mike Groh has gotten absolutely crushed by media and fans this year because of the Eagles’ terrible offensive performance.
I haven’t seen an Eagles assistant coach roasted like this since Dana Bible in 1998.
Bible was fired halfway through the season and replaced by Bill Musgrave, who may have been even worse.
That was 20 years ago.
Groh is an easy target. For a few reasons.
He replaced Frank Reich as Eagles offensive coordinator after the Super Bowl, and Reich is a pretty popular guy around here these days.
Reich's contributions last year helped the Eagles overcome the loss of Carson Wentz and win a Super Bowl with Nick Foles and then earned him a head coaching job with the Colts, where he’s now a Coach of the Year candidate with a high-flying offense that closely resembles the Eagles’ 2017 unit.
So Groh, the Eagles' receivers coach last year, is replacing not only a very popular coach who helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl but one whose offense in Indy has been far more productive than the Eagles' unit this year.
And, honestly, Groh hasn’t helped himself.
He’s vague, distant and sometimes condescending in his weekly press conferences. Which really shouldn’t matter, but it’s the only glimpse of Groh’s personality that fans see, and unlike Reich — who was warm, funny and insightful in interviews — Groh does not come across well.
His comment a couple weeks ago that, “It’s been challenging to integrate” Golden Tate into the offense obviously did not go over well. Understandably. It was clearly accurate but did not reflect well on Groh and the coaching staff.
But consider Reich's history.
He was fired by the Colts after the 2011 season, by the Cards after the 2012 season and by the Chargers after the 2015 season.
And nobody was calling Reich a genius in 2016, when the Eagles averaged 20.8 points per game, converted 38 percent of their third downs and averaged 337 yards per game.
Those numbers in Reich's first year as offensive coordinator are very similar to the Eagles' numbers in Groh's first year — 20.9 points, 39 percent of their third downs, 354 yards per game.
So if you're going to call Groh a lousy coach because of the offense's performance in these 11 games, you have to call Reich a lousy coach, too.
But really the point of all this isn’t a defense of Groh. That’s not really the issue.
The point is that if you’re looking for a scapegoat for the Eagles’ lackluster offense, you’re blaming the wrong guy.
This is Doug Pederson’s team. This is Doug Pederson’s offense.
He created the offense. He puts together the game plan. He defines the players’ roles. He calls the plays.
This isn’t to say Groh is going to turn into a genius overnight and get a head coaching job in a couple years and become a Coach of the Year candidate like Reich.
It’s that Pederson is ultimately responsible for everything that happens when the offense is on the field.
The Eagles’ offense has been horrible this year. We can all agree on that.
The Eagles have surpassed 25 points only once, and it was against the Giants' 25th-ranked defense. They’re averaging a pathetic 20 points per game at home, their worst in 20 years — since that nightmarish Bible-Musgrave season that got Ray Rhodes and everybody else fired. They haven’t scored more than 21 points yet in back-to-back games.
Groh is certainly a piece of that. So is every offensive player and coach in the building.
But if you want someone to blame?
Think back to 2016. Did you want Reich fired? Of course not.
Yet my Twitter feed from the last few days is filled with literally hundreds of calls for Groh to be fired. Immediately.
Pederson’s team. Pederson's offense. Pederson's scheme. Pederson's plays.
And when you look at how this offense has underachieved and underperformed the last three months?
Stop blaming Groh, and point your finger right at Doug Pederson.
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